Friday, 6 May 2016

Glamorgan coastline complete: only two Southbya sites

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or so the saying goes. Well in the case of Southbya tophacea, at least on the Glamorgan coastline I can report there is very little evidence and perhaps a lot of absence ! Since my last post on this about a year ago (see here) myself and Hannah have complete all 45km of the Glamorgan coastline, from Penarth Head to Ogmore. We walked all of it on the beach, and she must be patient, as I checked every single bit of tufaceous cliff face I could find. All I have to report is that Southbya could only be found at the well known Aberthaw Site and at the relocated Porthkerry site. 

That said I could only search the accessible parts of the cliff and there is a lot of tufaceous habitat high up that one would imagine is ideal, so maybe its just teasing not about to start abseiling as a hobby. 

I must admit my bryo identification is quite basic so dont expect a flora for the coastline, however I do have a list of 74 locations where there is tufa forming (ranging from a few cm to many meters) and there are associated byros, like Eucladium and so on. Ill happily send this list, complete with 10 FIG NGRs to anyone that wants it, I think the highlight must be Cwm Bach (SS8965471836) -mainly from the beach up the metal ladder, but I bet you've all been there already.

The big 'lump' of tufa at Cwm Bach, complete with handy bryo exploring metal ladder  for access. Dripping in bryos and worth a look.

We have also managed to survey in all of the Maidenhair fern (nice and easy for a beginner like me), a short write up in BSBI news will follow.

As for Southbya, I have only to visit Sams sites in Pembs then Ive been around all that Wales has to offer. Tim Blackstock took me out on Abberfraw, Anglesey, now the only dune site in Wales with Southbya. 

another great picture from my camera phone, but this is Southbya struggling for open space on its last dune habitat in Abberfraw (North Wales - sorry !)

On Sams suggestion, I will write a short review  for Field Bryology. I hope that some of the more distinguished people amongst us may want to review this or better still contribute (Barry maybe some of your great photos could adorn this article?). 

Ill circulate in a few months once its in final draft form.



  1. Very well done, Gareth and Hannah!! I wish I (still) had your tenacity & drive (and free time). Cwm Bach looks absolutely brilliant: that's where I'd go in search of Pterygoneurum papillosum if I had a day to spare..

  2. Hear hear, a sterling effort!

    I've not been to Cwm Bach, but must put that right...

  3. Stirling effort from you both - now we know how important the Southbya sites really are!!! Please send me your records and I'll incorporate them within the vc41 data set; they'll then also get shipped out to the LRC and national db.
    Sam, you know how to throw a curve ball!

  4. PS. Please feel free to use my photos

  5. great southbya records emailed to you @moonmoths ill sort out the other records soon...but there are plenty to be added by experienced people ! I really wish Sam hadnt challenged me to find another obscure liverwort...but ill give it a bash. I googled for decent photos but couldnt find any...where should I look?

  6. Pterygoneurum papillosum is a long shot, but its strongest UK colonies are on Lias rocks in Somerset so presence in Vale is plausible. It was described new to science in 2006 and was only known from one area of Germany until 2013 when it was discovered in SE England. GB records are from 4 counties. It's a small moss, easily overlooked among Microbryum davallianum.